“I just don’t understand.” This seem to be a rather populate phrase of late. More and more many are discovering that they are less and less in the mainstream of thought, philosophy and culture.
Leaning on our own understanding can become a vicious cycle of thinking that never releases it prey.
If we have trouble understanding a perspective, situation or person, it may be because we tend to see but not notice or we tend to hear but not listen.
When participating in a discussion it is easy to place our thoughts on what we want to say next or to build a rebuttal for what we are hearing rather than genuinely seeking to figure out how in the world the opposing view could be held with such strong conviction.
During opposing encounters it is helpful to recognize that consensus and compromise may not be possible now or in the future. Lowering our standards is not the goal. Committing to truth is essential and must be expressed in love.
Seeking first to understand paves the way for dialogue and interaction that might not otherwise take place at all.
The more we truly notice and listen the more we can hope to gain understanding. We must also come to realize that never fully understanding is a real possibility.
As we focus on being interested in another person and less on being interesting to them, we demonstrate our ability to understand and know the reason for their perspective.
There is a reason we have two eyes, two ears and one mouth. We should notice and listen at least twice as much as we talk. It’s not only polite, it is appropriate.
Why is it that we don’t notice and listen as much as we should? The issue is not so much a matter of bad eyesight or poor hearing. The root cause is a matter of the heart. We have a heart condition.
Often, unknowingly, our hearts harden over time and we are less and less tender, compassionate and loving in our approach. We think we know better and it shows. A strong heart is to be desired but a hard heart will ultimately kill us.
When we develop a hard heart we make up our minds, close the book and place a seal on the matter never to reopen the case and consider if more insight or input might bring about a broader and more enlightened view.
Remaining open minded doesn’t mean we will or should change our mind but one thing is for certain, a hard heart will never learn new approaches, better methods or improved techniques if it is set in its ways.
A heart of stone lacks the ability to pump life into an otherwise capable and healthy body.
Let’s not let hard hearts prevent us from seeing and hearing clearly as we seek to understand and know the truth of a matter through eyes that notice and ears that listen.
(Inspired by Matthew 13:12-15)